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Syracuse football: Why the Orange will finish 5-7 in 2018

A mix of close wins could inch SU closer to a bowl game, but the may just fall short.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note -- As has become tradition, TNIAAM writers will spend the week telling you why this year’s Syracuse football team will finish with a specific record. With that in mind, don’t get all huffy if the “prediction” isn’t what you want yet — it improves as we go.

Monday: 3-9 (John)

Tuesday: 4-8 (Kevin)

Wednesday: 5-7 (Brandon)

Thursday: 6-6 (Andy)

Friday: 7-5 (This guy Sean)

The Syracuse Orange has experienced a fair amount of misfortune during the first two seasons under Dino Babers. Eric Dungey’s seasons have been cut short and the defense has collapsed, making it so that SU has won exactly zero November games in the Babers era. The Orange now seem better equipped in the event Dungey goes down again, but any injuries on the defensive side could prove brutal to Syracuse’s bowl chances.

Syracuse is certainly capable of doing well, but with a tough schedule ahead of them, here’s how SU could end up just short of a bowl game at 5-7:

Western Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

at Western Michigan Broncos

If any game on the schedule is a trap game, it’s’ this one. Tim Lester is no slouch as a head coach and is well equipped to pull off an early season upset. However, Syracuse starts strong out of the gate as it usually does to get a solid, but probably narrower than expected first game win. W, (1-0) (0-0)

Wagner Seahawks

The Orange absolutely shellacks Wagner to keep up its hot start. The last time these two teams met in 2013, Drew Allen’s short-lived reign at QB ended when backup Terrell Hunt came in after three straight three-and-outs and demolished the Seahawks 54-0. Since Dungey seems to be the solid starter, expect Tommy DeVito, Rex Culpepper, and perhaps even Chance Amie to get some burn here. W, (2-0) (0-0)

Florida State Seminoles

Syracuse had a good chance against a decimated Seminoles offense last year, but a pair of missed Cole Murphy field goals did the Orange in. The Florida State team under new HC Willie Taggart may need to take some baby steps, but beating SU should not be a significant hurdle for a healthy FSU squad. L, (2-1) (0-1)

UConn Huskies

Syracuse jumps back quick with a solid home win over the former Big East rival Huskies. UConn fans will only want to talk basketball as Syracuse launches a total aerial assault on the Dome turf. W, (3-1) (0-1)

Clemson v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

at Clemson Tigers

Clemson fans that boo players who break bones for slowing down the game watch their team avenge last year’s upset in a relative non-contest down in Death Valley. Syracuse is still winless in conference play. L, (3-2) (0-2)

at Pittsburgh Panthers

Is it happening? SU gets a big win on the road against a team it’s struggled to beat in recent years. Only two games away from bowl eligibility. W, (4-2) (1-2)

North Carolina Tar Heels

Larry Fedora enters too focused on the grand scheme of how to save football and the American way of life by combating the FAKE NEWS CTE. As such, the Orange picks up its fifth win and inches to one win out of bowl eligibility. W, (5-2) (2-2)

N.C. State Wolfpack

SU can’t get that sixth win to become bowl eligible despite NC State lacking the strong defensive front it possessed last year. As usual, the late season Syracuse collapse begins. L, (5-3) (2-3)

Wake Forest v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

at Wake Forest Demon Deacons

This Wake team is now really, really good under Dave Clawson. The offense is to much for the young defense to handle and this game gets out of hand for SU rather fast. This is also around the time where Dungey is most likely to get knocked out. L, (5-4) (2-4)

Louisville Cardinals

At this point it just becomes obvious that Syracuse can’t win in November. SU enters the game in a good position to finally become bowl-eligible, but the defense isn’t experienced enough yet all-around to stop the Cardinals. L, (5-5) (2-5)

at Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame wears uniforms that embarrass all Yankee fans in attendance at this Bronx showdown, yet Syracuse proves no match. They also fail to wear much orange because... reasons? L (5-6) (2-5)

at Boston College Eagles

Syracuse’s defensive strength could be in the secondary, so Steve Addazio will just have AJ Dillon run like a madman to put up points. In case it’s not obvious, Dillon is really good. He’s a preseason All-American. SU can’t contain him and ends the 2018 campaign blowing 5 in a row after a 5-2 start. Fans have PTSD to 2011. L (5-7) (2-6)


This 5-7 team shows signs of progress throughout the season, but history repeats as Syracuse collapses down the stretch from injuries or just a slide in quality of play. It gives SU fans hope for the future, but certainly leaves them wishing for more.